South African Human Rights Commission issues report highly critical of mining sector's impact on socioeconomic development

The South African Human Rights Commission has released a report highly critical of the damage mining in the country is posing for human rights. The report concludes that the "mining sector is riddled with challenges related to land, housing, water, [and] the environment."

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Report
28 August 2018

Full report

Author: South African Human Rights Commission

"National Hearing on the Underlying Socio-economic Challenges of Mining-affected Communities in South Africa"

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Article
28 August 2018

Human Rights Watch on report on how mining damages communities & environment in So. Africa

Author: Katharina Rall, Human Rights Watch

"South Africa: How Mining Damages Communities and the Environment"

The South African Human Rights Commission has released a scathing report on the damage mining in the country is posing to human rights. The conclusion paints a dark picture: "[T]he mining sector is riddled with challenges related to land, housing, water, [and] the environment." What's more, the commission found that the government is responsible for the harm done to mining-affected communities because of its "failure to monitor compliance, poor enforcement, and a severe lack of coordination."...

When I interviewed residents of such communities in South Africa's Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, and North West provinces earlier this year, I heard many stories echoing the commission's findings. Somkhele is a community near one of the coal mines mentioned in the Human Rights Commission's report. Two weeks ago, I spoke with Wandile, a 67-year-old woman who grew up in the area and who was forced by the mine to relocate. I have changed her name for her protection. "There are so many problems we don't even know where to start," she said. "We used to have land for farming… but the mine took it away and we did not get any compensation for that."

The mining company, Tendele Coal, has said on several occasions that while it compensates for houses and other belongings, it is prevented from paying the villagers for the land when they are evicted because the land is owned by the Ingonyama Trust Board, a traditional body mandated to hold land for communities.

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